Now that fall has officially begun and things are back in full swing, it’s easy to fall into a haze and let your workout fall by the wayside. It’s time to set S.M.A.R.T. weight loss goals and get back into a healthy mindset. S.M.A.R.T. goals are:
Most people have a general sense of what sort of fitness level they’d like to achieve, like “lose weight” or “live a healthier lifestyle.” While admirable, these sorts of goals tend to be a bit ambiguous and not very motivational. Without a specific goal, it’s easier to get off-track, and there’s very little one can do to determine the changes that need to be made and those which have already been achieved. Instead of just aiming “improving endurance,” aim to complete a 5K race in the next three months. Instead of just promising to “losing weight,” try “losing 10 pounds this month.”
What do the specific goals above have in common? They’re measurable. Measurable goals allow you to track your progress, whether through lowered blood pressure and cholesterol or running that extra mile at the gym. Tracking your own progress can be highly motivational, since it allows you to witness the fruits of your labor in a concrete way. Measurable goals also help you to make adjustments to your diet and exercise plan along the way.
No one likes to feel like their efforts are futile, and continually setting goals that are unrealistic can bring those feelings about. When you set weight-loss goals, it’s important to think about your starting point (weight, lifestyle, available time for exercise), which varies greatly from person to person. Choosing attainable goals will set you up for success and ensure that you pursue healthy weight loss rather than extreme measures.
When it comes to choosing attainable goals, it’s imperative to consider what’s right for you. Your goals must be relevant to your personal priorities and health. Your spouse may be making changes in diet and exercise to lower his or her cholesterol, but if your goal is to lose weight, you may have to tailor your own approach accordingly.
This one goes hand-in-hand with “specific” and “measurable.” A time-bound goal aids in tracking your progress, but it also allows you make plans that are motivated by a specific deadline. If your goal is to run a 10K someday, will that get you up and moving now? Probably not. If you’re aiming to complete a race within the next three months, however, that might hold a little more sway.